The sidewalks of Long Beach have come to look a lot like Greenwich Village.
From West Park Avenue in the middle of town to West Beech Street in the West End, tables with colorful umbrellas line sidewalk after sidewalk and fill with patrons eager to dine outdoors. Restaurant owners find that setting up setting up fork, spoons and knives outside draws the crowds.
"Outside tables creates an attraction to our restaurant," said Rob Richards, owner of Sutton Place. "Once people see the outside patio, they stop to take a look at the menu."
Without trees, trash receptacles or mailboxes to obstruct the sidewalk outside, Sutton Place, at 124 W. Park Ave., is able to stretch their outdoor seating area without go over the City of Long Beach Building Department's guidelines that requires four feet of the sidewalk to remain unobstructed.
At Paninis & Bikinis, owner Jason Schatzberg utilizes the narrower sidewalk at the corner of West Beech Street and Wyoming Avenue in order to offer full outside seating.
"Long Beach is the place to be in the summer, but we have no places that allow you to dine al fresco next to the water," he said. "So eating outside here is the closest place that someone can do that."
Along with sidewalk tables and shaded umbrellas, Schatzberg is adding comfortable planter seats that will allow patrons to relax while waiting for their orders, or just take a break during their neighborhood stroll.
Marco McCarthy was intent on having outside dining when he decided to open a restaurant in Long Beach. Choosing a corner location for Lola's, at 180 W. Park Ave., McCarthy created an outdoor dinning area on the side of his restaurant, along Magnolia Boulevard, were it is less congested with foot traffic. It turned out to be an optimal fit for him and his patrons.
In keeping with its Key West theme, Lola’s outside heated patio is sectioned off with raised yellow and white flower boxes that gives foodies an intimate dinning experience while sitting outdoors and maintaining the four-foot sidewalk requirement.
"I want people to feel like they're on vacation when dining outside of Lola's," he said.